By M J Aslam
Every Hakim or Ruler of Jammu and Kashmir has disallowed the raising of a Memorial in remembrance of Kashmiri Muslims who fell to the bullets of forces since 1990 and who are laid to eternal rest at many graveyards including the arch “Martyrs Graveyard” at Eidgah Srinagar: First, in 2007 when GN Azad was CM, then in 2011 when Omer Abdullah was CM and now in 2016 when Mehbooba is CM, the attempt to raise a memorial has been thwarted by the authorities. In 2007, the JRL had announced to raise it on 13th July, the State declared Martyrs Day: “We had announced to lay the martyr’s memorial wall on 13th July 2007 but the government did not allow it”, said Mirwaiz. http://realkashmir60.blogspot.in/2011/
On every occasion, JR( Joint Resistance) Leaders were either arrested and/or put under house arrest and Eidgah sealed off. Once in May 2011, material that was dumped at the site for construction of Memorial Wall on 21st day of May 2011 was lifted and removed by the police under the orders of the then State Home Ministry headed by AM Sagar during night raids of the graveyard site. Then, in November of the same year of 2011, reasonably apprehending that the Kashmir rulers will again order removal of construction material from the site, JRL had asked everyone “to carry a brick in his hand & march towards Eidgah where a Memorial Wall to commemorate the death of the martyrs would be constructed”. http://www. satp.org/…/jan…/ terrorist_outfits/ Hurriyat_tl.htm But, it was restrictions all overall that Friday, so the Memorial Wall could not be erected at the site, again.
In January 2016, the people of South Kashmir raised a demand to build a Memorial Wall in memory of the “Martyrs of Pulwama” at Pulwama “martyrs Graveyard” but it was again disallowed by the authorities which was termed as “completely against the democratic norms” by Mirwaiz. http://kashmirlife.net/hurriyat-conference-m-backs-martyrs…/
It is a fact that among those buried there at these cemeteries is a good number of the slain civilians of Kashmir. Otherwise even, after death, hostilities should end. Why deny then construction of a Memorial Wall at the site of the “Martyrs Graveyard” at Eidgah Srinagar by use of force? Everyone knows that memories written indelibly on minds and hearts of people from generation to generation do not vanish. Is it then some kind of an “additional service” of Kashmir regimes for their Rulers or something more? After all, if authorities are “sure” that those buried there are already dead, not living, why fear them, “dead”, or their Memorial which they cannot see or even touch even. The people who have had a connection of blood, religion, community and humanity with them should be allowed to raise it in the name of humanity at least.
—The author can be reached at: [email protected] The views articulated are personal and not of the organization the author works for.